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Owning Land?

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Jon Southall
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Jon, given your feedback to my examples, I got a sense of where your required degree lies.

 

So here is my question:

 

-If I built a house, that house is mine (concurred by you)

-All the earth below my house can be used by another at will, since I don't own it, as long as their usage do not in anyway change/damage my house (concurred by you)

 

-So when I rent my house out, that means I am renting the house and not the land below it. I am not renting (nor can I rent) the right to the tenant to do as he/she wills BELOW the house, only WITHIN the house

 

-So how am I charging an immoral economic rent for land I do not own? If property law is set to your standard then I can never claim to own nor rent the land below my house in the first place?

Edited by VECT
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Jon said:

The reasoning is simple. A five year old could understand it. What you are the cause of is yours. When Vect states actions can claim materials as property he is reverting to the elusive magical point I wrote about above. He thinks somewhere in the process of making something, he gets rights to more than he has made. His position is not consistent with Objectivism, which reasons that no one has any entitlement to the unearned.

What everyone here is faced with is the responsibility of judging the cause of the persistent failure to grasp, represent, or aknowledge the explicit expressions by many in this thread, that this is question begging avoidance of the stated disagreement. The very issue being contended is what it means to "earn" or "make" something so as to become the owner of that which is made or earned. Edited by Plasmatic
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@Plasmatic

 

That's ONE of the issue.

 

There are three:

-What it means to "earn" or "make" something so as to become the owner of that which is made or earned (as you stated)

-The existence of the immoral portion of housing rent that Jon calls "economic rent"

-The responsibility for individual A to compensate individual B for improvements individual B made on his own property that indirectly raised individual A's property value.

Edited by VECT
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Ultimately, *nothing* except for ideas is "man-made" because it consists of some type of atoms or more accurately--energy according to your reasoning. If we follow the argument to it's logical end a man can't even own himself because he is made of things that aren't "man-made".

 

I skipped a lot of the thread but I just wanted to point out the absurdity of this argument.

 

And please don't respond with paragraphs of words covering up the point of what I said. I've noticed over and over that the amount of verbiage a person has to use to describe something is almost always inversely proportional to it's truth.

Edited by EC
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VECT, I agree those two follow from his fundamental position on the first issue.

 

That's the thing.

 

It doesn't.

 

My latest post shows how point_1 and point_2 are not connected, that even if I concur all of Jon's standard on what constitutes as "earned", his economic rent still wouldn't exist. The only way, assuming I concur with his standard of what constitutes as "earned", for his economic rent of land to exist, is if he was planning on building a subterranean complex beneath his landlords' apartment, and his landlord charges Jon here a rent for using the land beneath his apartment. Now, given Jon's standard of what's earned, THAT rent would be his economic rent.

 

But if his landlord is charging Jon a rent for living INSIDE the landlord's apartment, no portion of that is economic rent for unearned land.

 

And point_2 also doesn't connect with point_3. Since I stated, and Jon here concurred, that even though it's called "land value", community improvement doesn't inject bonus value into the dirt beneath a building, but rather to the building itself. It's the proximity/location of the building in relation to the other community improvement.

 

All three are separate points.

 

By no means am I giving him point_1. But if I see a critical argument that can put down his #2 and #3, I'm going to take it. Those two are his end game after all. I can always go back to #1 later.

Edited by VECT
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@Jon

 

Hahahahaha.

 

Let me change a few words here:

 

VECT, how do you say the poor doesn't have a right to the income of the rich when there is a income tax in America, which assesses and taxes precisely that?

How inconvenient of you.

 

Yes, because all current laws are perfect embodiments of rational principles right Jon?

Edited by VECT
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"Actually the issue of focus here is a landowner forcing others to pay for the location value of unimproved land. Not how or if land is used."

 

This makes no sense.  

 

The only way someone would pay is if they used it for something and I charged them to do so.   There is no "force" unless I'm forcing people to use my land against their will then making them pay more for the privilege.  Sort of like Obamacare.  Otherwise I have no idea what you mean.  
 

 

"You're assuming unimproved land is your property, the very claim I am questioning. If you have improved land, you own those improvements. You don't lose those improvements through not using them."

 

I don't assume it.  I know it.  If I save my pennies and buy some land up north - It is mine.  Simple. 

 

If someone wants to use it differently then me they can save their pennies and buy there own instead of forcing me to obey there desires.  

 

Property with permission or conditions is neither property nor freedom. 

 

"The end game is to identify correctly what is private property. If man is to sustain his life long term he needs to be free to think and act in his own rational self-interest. "

 

Which his why others shouldn't point a gun at him and tell him what to do with his land. 

 

 

"When he creates wealth by thinking and doing, he needs to own the wealth he has produced, the consequences if others own it is that he will be to an extent enslaved.'

 

We are not talking about someone else owning land - we're talking about a man owning his own land.  If someone else owns it then you get  permission to use it or simply don't use it. Simple. I ignore business every day with simple ease.  

 

 

"His rights to property are exclusive rights to action, not to objects. "

 

​A right to action is a right to dispose of the objects he owns.  Man survives by creating and using material objects. Other wise man would be paralyzed and soon dead. 

 

 

"He does not live by permission, he lives by producing values and trading them with others who produce value."

 

Exactly why he should not have to get permission or conditions on his property when he buys him.

 

"When others trick him in to trading the wealth he has created in exchange for something which is not owned by his trading partners, his rights are being breached. To ensure he is not tricked he needs to understand what is and what is not someones private property. In buying a car he carries out a HPI check to see if it has been recorded stolen, he avoids ponzi schemes."

 

Agree.  This is called fraud.  Already covered under law even in mixed economies let alone a free one.  

"If he is smart, he will question why he is paying a landowner for a land value attributable to the unimproved value of land, which is itself attributable to the value of the land around that land, which itself is attributable to the wealth created by other individuals in that community. He may decide that although he wants to offer a price to use that location and bid higher or before anyone else, in recognition of the value of that location, he will want his payment to go to those responsible which does not include the landowner. The landowner is just an intermediary who does not pass on payment to those who have earned it, he keeps the unearned income for himself."

 

Outside of the collectivist labor theory of value running amok here, I'll simply say this means nothing since it is an argument for value and demand that applies to everything already.  I could shoehorn my car into that argument.  

 

The owner paid of the land and it's value so he can add to that value himself or he can simply leave it to market forces.  Maybe he'll get lucky, maybe not.  I don't care since it is not my land and not my responsibility.  I would not want him telling me what to do with my land so I won't tell him what to do with his.  

 

The basic point is this - If someone  wants to use the land or buy it he can either agree to the price or walk away.  Or he can man up and go buy his own.  People do this every day when deciding not to do business with someone.    I ignore Taco Bell - I don't go in and force them to cater to my demands.  

 

"The behaviour by landowners is without virtue and ignores what wealth creation and trade are both premised on. Landowners who produce no values are enriched at the expense of those who do. I didn't think Objectivists favored parasitical behavior or would forcefully defend it but clearly many of the ones here do."

 

This is  vicious.  There virtue is in earning the money they used to  purchase *anything* they own.  Just because they do not use it to your approval is no moral statement on them.  

 

The parasite is the one who points a gun at them and forces the owner to use it against their will because the gun holder is to lazy to earn it themselves.

 

I got the end game.  If I own land and don't use it to your standards I'm the bad guy and should be punished.  Whether I be forced to use it how you want or you'll confiscate it I am not clear, but the end results is the same.

 

The only thing left is to find out what event caused you to think that you have a right to punish me for not obeying these a priori conditions.    

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The only thing left is to find out what event caused you to think that you have a right to punish me for not obeying these a priori conditions.    

 

To be fair, the OP does refer to something named "rights" and Ayn Rand also referred to something named "rights".  They even spelled them the same way.

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VECT said:

That's the thing.

It doesn't.

I didnt mean follows logically but he starts with "land is the source of material not a material itself" and goes on to "reason" from there attempting to bootstrap Oism onto his nonsensical view of land along with all the other rationalizations.

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EC - right so you state a straw man argument and then say I can't respond. Lol.

Okay. Explain how it's a straw man?

 

And just to provide the rest of the quote you keep using in it's full context.

 

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.

Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.

The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

thevirture.jpg

“Man’s Rights,”

The Virtue of Selfishness, 93

 

Bold mine. In other words, a person can do with their property as they so choose after they have earned the right to it. And what they have earned is what they have earned which implies land if it's land or whatever the atomic makeup of the thing happens to be. 

Edited by EC
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Vect,

"Hahahahaha.

Let me change a few words here:

VECT, how do you say the poor doesn't have a right to the income of the rich when there is a income tax in America, which assesses and taxes precisely that?

How inconvenient of you.

Yes, because all current laws are perfect embodiments of rational principles right Jon?"

Wouldn't be the first time you've misrepresented the argument. See your post at 7.27 yesterday, for example.

You wrote: "his economic rent still wouldn't exist" It does exist. In your trite wordplay you talk about welfare and rights to it etc. That's not a question of the existence of welfare. In the UK it exists, in your country it exists. It's a statement of fact. That's that pesky thing called reality that even though you want to, Vect, you can't ignore.

Now you can bring in a moral judgement but what are you applying it to? A non-existent practice of the poor claiming welfare, or the non-existence of economic rent which is currently taxed in parts of the US? I'm wasting time discussing this with you, you're just irrational even on very basic elements.

Edited by Jon Southall
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Tadmjones,

"I have a hard time paying my real estate taxes 'out of the value of my priviate home', I end up using my income to pay the tax. Loving the Georgian solution."

Well firstly we ought to be very clear a real estate tax is not the same as a land value tax. A real estate tax applies to your capital as well as economic rent. To the extent it applies to your capital it is an unjust tax. Secondly George's solution was to scrap all other taxes and I think only one place in America has adopted that approach, quite recently.

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EC, yes that's the full quote and completely consistent with my position.

You've made the same mistake as Vect in claiming there's a magic point when making something gives you more than what you've made. That's the issue.

 

It's not and the second statement is only true if you mean that I think people can dispose or use their property as they wish including making as large of a profit on the rental of real estate as someone else is willing to pay. And in no way is this equivalent to a government coerced tax. It's equivalent to profit on anything else that is a person's property. A sale or rental of a car would be an example.

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Spiral Architect,

In response to your long post:

You seem to think what I am suggesting is an attack on property owners. It isn't. If you look at what I reason constitutes property - everything man was the cause of - this is not under attack whatsoever. We just disagree on whether location value of the unimproved land value is the landowner's property.

No one is saying force should be used to tell anyone how to use land. My view is that every man by his nature requires land in order to live, and therefore following his right to life, he ought to be able to live in any location without paying for permission to do so.

This does not mean he has a right to violate your property rights (to property as I define it, as Rand via Galt defined it). He can't hold, use, keep or dispose of your property unless voluntary consent has been granted.

Because no man can own the unearned, unimproved land is a special case of what can't be owned. It can't be inherited or sold without implying someone has earned it; the fact is no one ever has and no one ever can.

When a title of ownership of what can't be owned, one which interferes with freedom, is used to redistribute wealth, it sets up the title holder as a parasite who gets rich off of a title,not any values he has produced.

DreamWeaver wrote above his father had to buy unimproved land. He didn't state what for. What his father paid was economic rent. Now if sold on a market the land should go to the highest bidder, to whom it has most value. The monies paid are enriching those who are trading nothing but a title. They have not earned it.

If the government taxes this unearned income, it is not depriving the one who receives the economic rent from the fruits of his labours; he produced nothing in exchange for it in the first place. It's not a violation of his rights as it does not concern his property.

If the proceeds were used to fund the government, we could abolish all other forms of tax. No income taxes, no sales taxes and so on. This would be far more just a system.

OK, thank you to all honest contributers to this post. It's been interesting. So long.

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You wrote: "his economic rent still wouldn't exist" It does exist. In your trite wordplay you talk about welfare and rights to it etc. That's not a question of the existence of welfare. In the UK it exists, in your country it exists. It's a statement of fact. That's that pesky thing called reality that even though you want to, Vect, you can't ignore.

Now you can bring in a moral judgement but what are you applying it to? A non-existent practice of the poor claiming welfare, or the non-existence of economic rent which is currently taxed in parts of the US? I'm wasting time discussing this with you, you're just irrational even on very basic elements.

 

Haha. Now who's purposefully misinterpreting who?

 

Did I claim a law DIDN'T exist concerning welfare or your economic rent?

 

Or did I claim the mere existence of such laws doesn't justify rationally the existence of the right of one individual to the income of another, just as it doesn't justify the existence of your economic rent, as you would suggest.

 

My changing the wording of your last post is to demonstrate the futility of this new line of argument you are undertaking.

 

If laws can somehow justify whatever they declare, then as long as I can get a bill to okay slavery to pass, then slavery would be justified. 

 

You failed to defend the existence of your economic rent on rational ground, so as a last resort you turned to argue that since there is a law presupposing economic rent exist, it must exist.

 

To borrow your own word Jon, you are at the end of your line grasping at straws.

Edited by VECT
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To be fair, the OP does refer to something named "rights" and Ayn Rand also referred to something named "rights".  They even spelled them the same way.

 

I'm not trying to be rude here - I'm just curious.  He didn't come into this theory in a vacuum as if he saw the Law of Causality and extrapolated this theory like Minerva coming to life.  

 

I think it would help us help him if we knew what case studies made him so concerned about this issue and convinced him that land owners "exploit others" and are "parasites".  

 

There is something here to be unraveled.  

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